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August 9, 2017 8:38 AM   Subscribe

My car sustained a bumper injury. How much do I need to care? Photos within.

The back of my car got a bite taken out of it by someone parallel parking behind me, sometime in the past week. I'm not really too fussed about aesthetics and figure this is just the cost of street parking 24/7 in competitive parking areas (i.e. more injuries are likely to occur over its lifespan and I've steeled myself to that reality).

What I would like to know is: do I need to care about this one? If untreated, will these marks spread/rust/cause further damage to my car/shorten the lifespan in any way? What should I do/do I need to do about this, and how soon?

(If I do need to get it fixed, any guesses as to what it'll cost? I've literally never gotten bodywork done on a vehicle. This is a 2014 Subaru wagon, nothing flashy.)

PHOTOS ARE HERE, three of them.
All on the back bumper, which is presumably some kind of plastic? Paint is scraped up, there are shallow divots in the bumper.
posted by phunniemee to Grab Bag (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
This is a 2014 Subaru wagon, nothing flashy.

I'm sorry, Subaru wagons are, imo, the sexiest, flashiest cars ever.

This is a purely cosmetic issue and will not cause any rust or further damage. It's why they make bumpers out of plastic. There is no rush to do anything other than make it look pretty again.

Any chance insurance might pick this up?

Cost is hard to say, probably a couple hundred to repair or 5-600 to replace. Just an educated guess.
posted by Lutoslawski at 8:49 AM on August 9, 2017 [1 favorite]

I was rear-ended last week. My car is in the shop now, with much less extensive damage (just paint - it looks like you have actual holes), and it's going to cost the other guy's insurance company $638. I'd think they would need to replace your whole bumper there, which would mean a lot more money.

As to whether you should get it fixed, I don't think anything bad will happen if you don't.
posted by something something at 8:55 AM on August 9, 2017

I bumped the rear bumper of another car several years ago; the damage was so minor it was barely noticeable in bright sunlight - just a faint scuff on the paint. Even so, we both reported it to my insurance company. To my surprise, my company informed me that it required a full bumper replacement, cost: approximately $500. When I protested that it was only a faint scrape, they said any impact with a bumper raised questions about damage to its internal integrity. Nowadays, bumpers are mainly filled with foam, which is designed to absorb the shock of a low-impact bump. Per my company, since the foam might have been slightly crunched in the impact (because that's what it's there for), they had to replace the whole thing.

My front bumper had a small scuff, too, but I never bothered to get it checked out. I mean, it's not as if a piece of crushable foam in the bumper is a major safety feature, so I didn't care if it had been slightly crumpled.

If you're concerned that the bumper's shock-absorbing foam may have been compromised, you could get it checked out. Since the bumper cover is plastic, there won't be a rust issue. It's possible there may be a tiny crack or two in some of those scrapes; if so, it is possible that the cracks could expand over time. Again, if you care about that, you could probably take it to a body shop to be checked out and get an estimate.
posted by Lunaloon at 9:02 AM on August 9, 2017 [1 favorite]

Someone swiped my car's front bumper while it was parked on the street, managing to hit it in juuust the right place that several panels were damaged. It was scraped down to the metal so we had to act quickly to prevent rusting. My insurance paid for it 100%, without the deductible. And my rates have not gone up. I think it would have cost about $800 out of pocket.
posted by radioamy at 9:07 AM on August 9, 2017

Oh no, that stinks :(

I made a similar mark in my parents' car's rear bumper many moons ago, and the only further damage that happened is the paint around the scrapes chipping off a tiny bit more over the rest of the lifetime of the car.
posted by Fig at 9:16 AM on August 9, 2017

I have a subaru Impreza and also am really good at accidentally backing into things. The bumpers on modern subarus are plastic (they're built to crumple/collapse if really smashed into) so you really don't need to worry about the scrapes rusting and compromising the bumper, unless the person who hit your car was really flying and did some damage to the actual car below or cracked the bumper so much its falling off (as was my case).

It was a few years ago but as I recall replacing my bumper cost about $600 for a local body shop to paint a blank one to match and stick it on there. I could have spent $1000+ and got the fancy pre-painted official subaru bumper but went the cheap route. The paint is now slowly peeling off and revealing the black plastic below, but it's really only cosmetic.
posted by Orca at 9:30 AM on August 9, 2017

It won't rust. It's not a problem. I would probably just put a drop of touchup paint on each of the spots; the spots wont go away but your eye will just glide over them.
posted by gregr at 10:04 AM on August 9, 2017 [1 favorite]

I have had similar looking scrapes on my car since spring? Last fall? In any case, I've been too lazy to fix them and they haven't spread or rusted or anything. I'd get an estimate and figure out if you want to deal with it now or later.
posted by AFABulous at 10:30 AM on August 9, 2017 [1 favorite]

You weren't the driver at fault, right? If you weren't at fault, then go ahead and make a police report then file for an insurance claim --- it shouldn't make any difference in your rates, accidents only affect the at-fault driver's rates.

Make the police report first, not because they can do anything about an unwitnessed accident (especially days after the fact), but because insurance companies like to have those reports before they'll pay out. Assuming you don't have the at-fault driver's info, your insurance company will file it as 'uninsured driver' or 'hit and run'; you'll probably have to pay your deductible, but once the claim is finished you should get that back, so in the long run it'd cost you nothing.

It's probably only cosmetic, but yes there might be more, hidden damage (that crushable foam etc.), plus after all this only a three-month-old car. If it was three years rather than three months? I'd just live with it.
posted by easily confused at 7:16 AM on August 10, 2017

it shouldn't make any difference in your rates, accidents only affect the at-fault driver's rates.

No, not true. It depends on the company. My car was totaled and surveillance video proved it was 100% the other drivers fault. My rates still went up. In this case, the cost is probably close to the deductible anyway.
posted by AFABulous at 7:18 AM on August 10, 2017

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